There’s a storm happening in space, and boy has it lit up our solar indices! I have never seen purple in the Geomagnetic forecast before, but of course I have only been using Solarham.net for a year or two. Still, it makes me wonder what the next higher color would be!
A friend of mine has been using the site for some time, and he too was surprised at the purple level. Another interesting thing to note is the K-index is higher than the A-index. While not as unusual as the purple alert, I do not recall seeing that before either.
The K-index is more or less an immediate reading of solar activity, with 1-4 being “normal” and 5 or more indicating a storm. This activity is being cause by heightened activity on the Sun’s surface, including two very large sunspots ejecting large amounts of radiation.
Due to some CME activity (Coronal Mass Ejections) the next few days are going to have upper-level atmospheric disturbances likely to cause significant Auroral activity, but not enough to reach my latitude (sigh).
Auroral activity brings with it some interesting possibilities for auroral skip propagation if you are an amateur radio operator, and interesting things can happen right after the initial wave of disturbance passes from a CME. For several hours the heightened radiation can impact the upper bands for some interesting propagation, but SW bands will be disturbed significantly, and may even have momentary blackouts.
A great site for more information about auroral activity and space weather in general is SpaceWeatherLive.
Shakespeare was right: “There are more things between heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in you philosophies!” 73, Robert K4PKM